Springfield students introduce others to Chinese language, culture

Springfield High School students introduced area middle school students to Chinese language and culture on Friday.

Students in the high school’s Chinese program facilitated an event before Roosevelt and Schaefer Middle School students as part of a problem-based learning project. The goal was to figure out how to get younger children interested in Chinese culture, school leaders said.

The high school students served as announcers, performers, teachers and judges and middle school students experienced Chinese culture by learning about chopsticks, the Chinese zodiac, calligraphy and dragon dance.

“They are going to teach the kids lots of different activities that they did in the Chinese class. Hopefully the middle school students will be interested in and be willing to explore this beautiful language and culture when they go to high school,” said Jing Zhao, who teaches Chinese at Springfield High.

Chinese is the most spoken language in the world, Zhao said, and can be used in many future careers, especially those in math, science and engineering.

“In Chinese language there’s no conjugation, there’s no verb tense change, there’s no plural so that all makes things easier. And also, Chinese language focuses on meaning instead of form changes,” Zhao said.

Springfield High has offered Chinese language classes since 2010. About 130 students are currently enrolled in the program this year.

Cierra Thompson, a ninth grade Springfield High student taking her first year of Chinese, said she signed up for the classes to learn more about Chinese culture, history and language.

“I like the cooking because you get to learn about how they eat and the stuff they put in their food,” she said. “It’s really fun.”

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